December 12, 2011: The Michael Martin Murphey Christmas Show
November 24, 2011: Thanksgiving at My House
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December 7-11, 2011
The Birthday Parties for
Ron Ruckman & Karl Gleim


For some time, Prudence and Nancy have been planning birthday parties for their respective husbands, Ron and Karl. Since Nancy and Karl and many of the folks who will be attending live here in the Dallas area, Prudence and Ron planned to come up here and have both the parties in Grapevine. As a surprise for Ron, Prudence is bringing Guy Blair down from Chamberlain, SD, for the weekend. Sadly, the surprise was let out of the bag fairly early, but even so, having Guy here will be a treat for everyone.

Guy will be flying down here on Wednesday and he will stay with us. Ron's birthday party will be Friday night, and Karl's will be on Saturday. Other that that, we just expect to see a lot of everyone this weekend. There were a number of times that we all got together, and what I'll do on this page is just go through those gatherings one at a time. Fred didn't bring his camera to any of the events, but Karl and I brought ours, so you won't see any pictures from Fred on this page.


Lunch at The Snooty Pig in Grapevine

Guy arrived on Wednesday, and Fred and I spent the day with him on Thursday. Ron and Prudence drove up on Thursday evening, and for Friday lunch they asked us to come out to Grapevine to meet them.

Nancy lives in Grapevine, and Prudence and Ron were staying at her mother's house in Arlington, so meeting out there was the logical thing to do.

The restaurant was one that we were not familiar with; it was called "The Snooty Pig" and apparently served a good breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we found Nancy and Karl, Prudence and Ron and a friend of Karl's already there.

This picture is actually a combination of two pictures. I took the first one, so Fred was in it, and Fred took the second so I could appear. Then I just photoshopped me into the first or Fred into the second- I forget which. But you can see everyone at lunch- Fred, Guy, Ron, me, Karl's friend, Karl, Nancy and Prudence.

I also made a movie here at The Snooty Pig just to record everyone, and you can watch it with the player at left.

We had a nice breakfast/lunch and did some catching up. About two o'clock, we left to head back to Dallas while Ron and Prudence went back to her mom's house to do some sorting and cataloging of what Prudence might want to take to San Antonio now that her mom has passed away. We had to go home since we hadn't come dressed for Ron's birthday dinner, which would be the next activity on the weekend agenda.


Ron's Birthday Dinner

Nancy did most of the planning for the two birthday dinners this weekend. The first one, for Ron, wasn't held where I thought it would be. I thought that Ron would like Bob's Steak and Chop House, where we have been with them a couple of times already. As it turned out, that's where Karl's dinner would be; Ron's would be at Ferrari's Italian Restaurant, which I had thought was one of Karl's favorites. Regardless of what I perceived as a change up, we all gathered at Nancy's house about six to head to Ferrari's together.

Karl drove and we all rode together for the short drive up William D. Tate to the restaurant:

There were seven of us at dinner: Ron and Prudence, Nancy and Karl, Fred and I and Guy. For this evening's dinner, Ron got all dressed up, and I thought the result was pretty impressive. With his cigar and his Illinois accent, he could have easily passed for the Chicago Mayor or some important Illinois state politician; all in all I thought he was pretty impressive. I, for one, felt distinctly under-dressed!

I took a pretty good picture of Ron and Prudence as we were waiting for our private room to be readied, and you can have a look at the photogenic couple below:

Both Karl and I took a number of pictures during dinner, and I've selected five of each of ours to include here. Just click on the thumbnails below to have a look:

Karl's pictures:

My pictures:

As I am wont to do, I made a movie just before dinner got started, mostly just to record this evening's attendees. You can watch that movie with the player at left.

Mostly due to Nancy's incredible preparations, we had a completely enjoyable dinner. The private room we had made it very conducive to our own conversations; if you can swing it, having private rooms (as we have found out a number of times at Celebration just up the street from me) are the way to go for groups bigger than four. We had a really great time, and after dinner adjourned to Nancy's house for coffee and cake.

Yet again, Fred and I have to thank Prudence and Nancy for including us in their celebrations; they have both come to feel like family to me, particularly since I don't have any nearby. I am sure that Fred feels that even more than I do, having known Prudence and her family as long as he has.


Karl's Birthday Dinner

For Karl's birthday dinner, we gathered at their house around six, and awaited the arrival of Karl's daughter, Megan, who was driving down from Oklahoma with her boyfriend. (I should have written down his name but didn't. Megan, if you happen to see this and want me to correct the narrative with his name, I'd be happy to do so. Karl knows how to contact me.).

For this evening, we took two vehicles up to Bob's Steak and Chop House, over on South Main in Grapevine, and not too far from Karl and Nancy's house.

If memory serves, we took Ron with us, dropped him off at the valet stand where Karl had them park his own car, and I parked on a street behind the restaurant.

At Bob's, we had a large table out in the middle of the dining room for all nine of us: Karl and Nancy, Megan and her friend, Ron and Prudence, Fred and I and Guy. Bob's is a very busy, very upscale place, and without a private room (which I don't know that they have) hearing anyone but your adjacent seatmates is almost impossible.

Before we got started with dinner, I had our waiter take a group photo. Perhaps I should have used the flash, but I very much dislike the way it bleaches everyone out in rooms that are otherwise very dimly lit, as this one was. So I just set the ISO very high and hoped for the best. I've noticed when I do that the the picture gets grainy, and I am not sure if there is another setting I should change, but you can see the result at left. I did the same thing with some of the other pictures I took this evening, so when you see a grainy image, that because of the high ISO I used to avoid the flash.

This is the third time that Fred and I have been to Bob's with Ron and Prudence. Their food is excellent, which you would expect, I guess, from the upscale nature of the restaurant. Based on our previous experiences, Fred and I knew to share something, and we chose the pork chops, which were even better than when I had them the first time.

I took a few pictures on my own during and after dinner, and you can have a look at them if you click on the thumbnails at right. The dinner was excellent, but I wished that I'd been able to converse more with Nancy, Karl, Megan and her friend, bu they were at the other end of the table and very hard to hear.

When we returned to Karl and Nancy's house for coffee we were able to talk some, and that was very nice. This was the last activity for this weekend; Guy would be heading back to Chamberlain on Sunday. It was a very, very nice weekend, particularly as Prudence had brought Guy down as a birthday gift for Ron. It made the gatherings extra-special. And, as we do so very often, we thank the Ruckman's and the Gleim's very, very much.

You can use the links below to continue to another page in this photo album.

December 12, 2011: The Michael Martin Murphey Christmas Show
November 24, 2011: Thanksgiving at My House
Return to the Index for 2011